Since Thursday morning (Oct. 28) was the start of our dam removal work to lower water levels in the Zebedee Headwaters, I decided it would be a good idea to head back out later in the day to check on how the water level had been affected over the course of the day. When I arrived back at the dam, I was amazed at the drop in the water level in just four hours.
The water had dropped about eight inches from the morning’s level, and was really just trickling over the new top of the beaver dam. I decided to lower the beaver dam another five inches, in hopes that this would keep us ahead of what the beavers might be able to rebuild overnight. At about 4:30, as I was finishing up for the afternoon, a lone beaver came by to check on our work.
He announced his displeasure with our progress, and watched me disapprovingly as I gathered my tools to leave. This beaver may not agree entirely, but our goal with this work is to improve his wetland home, even if it makes him have to work a little harder to recreate a dam across this wetland outlet by removing the manmade dam! As I walked back to my car, I wondered what Tim and I would see in the morning.
Tim and I went back to the dam and we were quite impressed with what we saw. The beavers had indeed been quite busy overnight, but their work had not appreciably raised the water level over what I had seen when I left the night before.
We decided to remove the “beaver baffle” since it was so close to the end of the season, and since it could be in the way of the upcoming excavation work to breach the earthen dam. Using hands and hand tools we then proceeded to remove more of the beaver dam to lower the water another 6-8 inches.
-Jason Berard, UVLT Stewardship Coordinator